Longmont-based filmmaker Chad Weber realized the value in the little ordinary things during the COVID pandemic. In his most recent documentary on a local barber shop, he highlights how something as simple as getting a haircut can be impactful.
The roughly seven minute long documentary “Deluxe Barbershop: Special in the Ordinary,” follows Deluxe Barbers and Styling Shop owners Susan and Teresa Shaheen as they navigate business and community during COVID restrictions. The mother and daughter duo have worked side-by-side in a small shop on Main Street, for more than 10 years.
Weber has lived and worked as an independent filmmaker in Longmont for about two years, with more than half of the time living through a pandemic. As video work dwindled from his corporate clients, he continued filming through his passion project, Free Range Films, a video platform where he creates documentaries.
“During the pandemic I kind of started this idea. I just wanted to stay busy and you know make short films and create the type of work that I want to do more of in my professional life,” Weber said.
Free Range Films is focused on covering local stories and is open-ended, Weber said. Though it’s not just about Longmont small businesses, he released a documentary on A Florae, a boutique floral shop on Main Street, and how the owner Rachel Hunter struggled to keep her business going during lockdown earlier this year.
The mini documentary on Deluxe Barbers, opens with Susan and Teresa trimming the hair of clients in their chairs. Their voices overlay the images, talking about how they enjoy the conversations with their customers. The barbers add a “platonic touch,” that is valuable for human connection and mental well-being, something that some of their clients lost during pandemic restrictions on salons and barbershops in 2020, he said, adding this is what interested him in following their story.
“I kind of found it interesting, the value of the interaction they have with their clients,” Weber said. “And I find that platonic touch angle interesting and what it means to have that human interaction on a kind of scheduled party in your life. Something like that we may overthink and can be a really valuable important part of someone's life.”
The connection between Deluxe Barbers’ clients and Teresa and Susan, are the driving force throughout the film. The mother-daughter business owners like to think that their clients are a part of their family.
The film then shifts from joyful music, smiles and laughter to a vacant barbershop as Teresa and Susan reflect on COVID lockdown. Screen captures of messages from clients asking the two women how they are doing and saying that they missed the barbershop flash on screen. When Deluxe Barbers was closed for nine weeks, Teresa and Susan were reminded of how important their business was to building community.
“When something like that is taken away, the emptiness really makes it evident how important these little interactions are in our lives,” Weber said.
The documentary wraps up with looking at business recovery and the return of customers. Scenes are shown from an outdoor event for Deluxe Barbers’ 10 year anniversary last April.
Teresa said she was nearly in tears after she watched the final edit of the documentary and was grateful for not only how it’s promoting her business, but also how it shows shots of their customer-family.
“When he sent me the link, Mom and I watched it together first thing in the morning and both of us were overwhelmed with emotion, seeing how beautifully he had put together our story,” Teresa said. “It was super overwhelming to see, like, our heart, put on the screen like that.”
She hopes that viewers of the documentary realize that establishments like her own are much more than a business and are community hubs.“Deluxe Barbershop: Special in the Ordinary,” is available to watch for free on Free Range Films’ Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Vimeo.